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BLACKWOOD, E.: Symphonies No. 1 and 5 (DePreist, Munch)

BLACKWOOD, E.: Symphonies No. 1 and 5 (DePreist, Munch)

The Classical Shop
release date: August 2013

Originally recorded in 2000


Boston Symphony Orchestra


Chicago Symphony Orchestra


James DePreist


Charles Munch


Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi Chamber Orchestra



Orchestral Hall, Chicago, United States


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 57:14
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BLACKWOOD, E.: Symphonies No. 1 and 5 (DePreist, Munch)

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Symphony No. 5, Op. 35

1 I. Allegro inquieto 8:04
2 II. Molto adagio 10:58
3 III. Allegro vivo 7:01
 Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi Chamber Orchestra Orchestra
 James DePreist Conductor

Symphony No. 1, Op. 3

4 I. Andante maestoso: Non troppo allegro ma con spirito 9:05
5 II. Andante comodo 5:51
6 III. Allegretto grotesco 5:22
7 IV. Andante sostenuto 10:53
 Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi Chamber Orchestra Orchestra
 Charles Munch Conductor

Blackwood’s Symphony No. 1, Op. 3, was recorded by Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra for RCA Victor in 1958 and released in 1959. Long out of print, the "Living Stereo" LP has become a prized collectors item. Cedille’s reissue was digitally remastered from RCA’s original stereo master tape, now part of BMG Classics’ archives.
The First Symphony’s premiere performances brought Blackwood praise as "a stoutly original musical thinker" (Time, November 24, 1958). Howard Taubman of The New York Times called him "a composer of uncommon gifts." High Fidelity reviewer Alfred Frankenstein (February 1960) wrote of being captivated by "its freshness, its vitality, its dramatic, epical qualities, and the sense of a lively, original, uncompromising talent at work." Hi-Fi/Stereo Review rated the performance and recording quality as "excellent" (March 1960). Eric Salzman, reviewing the recording for The New York Times (Jan 31, 1960), called the work a "wild, grandiose and eclectic work full of almost Lisztian gestures . . . this young composer wants his symphony to embrace and reconcile a whole world of varying musical materials."
Blackwood’s Symphony No. 5, Op. 34, also reflects this abiding interest in a wide variety of musical styles, as well as Blackwood’s latter-day interest in tonal music and older harmonic idioms. Around the time Blackwood sat down to write the Fifth Symphony, he had become enamored of piano works by lesser-known modernists of the early 1900s. "I originally conceived the work as the kind of symphony Sibelius might have written had he experimented with the modernist techniques that attracted composers like Casella and Szymanowski," Blackwood writes in the CD booklet.
The Fifth Symphony, completed in 1990, was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to celebrate its centennial. Cedille’s recording is derived from the 1992 premiere concerts given by the CSO and conductor James DePreist.

 "Blackwood’s First] is an inspired masterpiece, with a claim to being one of the greatest American symphonies. The listener is immediately gripped by the urgent passion and originality of its voice." -

American Record Guide

"In its strongly tonal harmonies . . . [Blackwood’s Fifth] reaches out to the kinds of listeners who make up the majority of our classical-music audiences -- and, especially in DePreist’s committed performance, it brilliantly succeeds. Highly recommended." 

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